The Sir Bobby Robson Collection

A football legend who will never be forgotten

Player Biography
Full name: Sir Robert William Robson
Date of birth: February 18, 1933
Date of death: July 31, 2009
Clubs played for: Fulham, West Brom, Vancouver Royals
Clubs managed: Fulham, Ipswich, England, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Barcelona, Newcastle
Bobby Robson
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Club Career

Bobby Robson began his playing career with Fulham, making his debut for the London club in a First Division clash with Sheffield Wednesday in 1950. He spent six years at Craven Cottage before joining West Bromwich Albion in a £25,000 deal, where he topped the Baggies scoring charts in the 1957–58 season with 24 goals before being appointed captain ahead of the 1960-61 campaign.

He rejoined Fulham in 1962 for £20,000, where he spent a further five years, before leaving England to become player-manager at North America Soccer League outfit Vancouver Royals.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1950-56 Fulham 152 68
1956-62 West Brom 239 56
1962-67 Fulham 192 9
1967-68 Vancouver Royals N/A N/A

International Career

Robson made his international debut in November 1957 against France, marking the occasion in fine style by scoring twice in a 4-0 victory. He was a regular at the 1958 World Cup and was also part of the 1962 World Cup squad, where an ankle injury kept him out of most of the competition. In total he made 20 appearances for his country, scoring four times.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1957-62 England 20 4

Managerial Career

Following a short period as player-manager of Vancouver Royals, Robson returned to England in January 1968 to take up the managerial reins at his former club Fulham, but he was unable to save the Londoners from relegation to the Second Division and was dismissed in November the same year.

Undeterred by the unsavoury experience, Robson took charge of Ipswich in 1969 and it was with the Suffolk side that he would enjoy his first success as a manager, with FA Cup victory in 1978 followed by UEFA Cup glory in 1981. He spent 13 years in total at Portman Road before accepting an offer from the Football Association to take charge of England in July 1982.

Robson endured a difficult start to his reign, as England failed to qualify for the 1984 European Championship finals, but bounced back to lead England to the 1986 World Cup, where Maradona put paid to their participation in the tournament at the quarter-final stage.

A disappointing group stage exit at Euro 88 was followed by World Cup heartbreak in 1990, when Robson came so close to leading England to the final only to see his team suffer an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat against West Germany in the semi-finals.

Robson returned to club management following the World Cup to take charge of PSV Eindhoven and led them to successive Dutch league titles in 1990–91 and 1991–92.

Sporting Lisbon was Robson's next destination but he spent less than two years there before he was dismissed in December 1994, despite the club sitting at the top of the Portuguese League. He promptly pitched up at rivals Porto and led his new club to victory over Sporting in the Portuguese Cup final, as well as two successive League titles in 1994–95 and 1995–96, before he was enticed to Spain to take charge of Barcelona.

Robson snapped up a young Brazilian striker by the name of Ronaldo and led the Catalan giants to the Spanish Super Cup, Copa Del Rey and European Cup-Winners' Cup in a single season, but remarkably it wasn't enough to keep him in a job.

A return to PSV followed in 1998 before he was offered the chance to return to England with his home-town club Newcastle in 1999, where he guided them to a fourth-place finish in the 2001–02 season and the following campaign led the club to third spot. Despite an impressive record he was dismissed by the Magpies in August 2004 - and it would prove to be his last managerial position.

He died in July 2009 following a lengthy, and extremely brave, battle against cancer.

Key Games

Ipswich 1-0 Arsenal (FA Cup final, May 6, 1978)

Robson finally got his hands on a major honour, having failed to win a single trophy in his playing career. His team were underdogs against an Arsenal team littered with household names, but they produced an outstanding performance at Wembley to earn a deserved 1-0 victory. Three years later and Robson would lead the club to European glory, taking the UEFA Cup to East Anglia for the first time.

Argentina 2-1 England (World Cup quarter-final, June 22, 1986)

A match forever remembered for the antics of one Diego Armando Maradona. First the Argentinian striker deliberately used his hand to deflect the ball past Peter Shilton before producing a goal of breathtaking quality, beating five England players before dribbling past Shilton to make it 2-0. Gary Lineker pulled a late goal back but it would not be enough and ensured Robson’s first World Cup ended in fury and disappointment.

England 1-1 West Germany (aet, West Germany won 4-3 on penalties, World Cup semi-final, July 4, 1990)

England produced a terrific performance and came so close to reaching a World Cup final for only the second time. Gary Lineker had cancelled out Andreas Brehme’s opener to take the tie into extra-time and, after neither side could find a winner, the match went to penalty kicks. Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed from the spot, cruelly bringing an end to England’s participation in the competition. It would prove to be the defining moment in Robson’s career and his last match in charge of the national team.

Barcelona 1-0 Paris St-Germain (European Cup-Winners' Cup final, May 14, 1997)

Robson enjoyed further success in Europe as Ronaldo's penalty clinched the Cup for Barca. It would be a fine season for the Catalan giants, as Robson also added the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup to their trophy cabinet. It won Robson the European Manager of the Year accolade but, remarkably, it wasn't enough for him to hold on to his job as he was soon moved upstairs to the position of General Manager with Louis van Gaal taking over the managerial reins.

Honours

Club Competition Year
Ipswich (as manager) FA Cup 1978
UEFA Cup 1981
PSV Eindhoven (as manager) Dutch Championship 1990-91, 1991-92
Porto (as manager) Portuguese Cup 1994
Portuguese Championship 1994-95, 1995-96
Barcelona (as manager) Spanish Super Cup 1996-97
Copa Del Rey 1996-97
European Cup-Winners' Cup 1996-97

Did You Know...?

Robson only discovered he had been dismissed as manager of Fulham after reading the headline ‘Robson Sacked’ on an Evening Standard placard outside Putney station.

Robson bought just 14 players during his 13-year tenure as Ipswich boss, instead relying on players developed through the club’s youth system.

Robson attempted to take Alan Shearer to Barcelona shortly after taking over as manager but was rebuffed and instead opted to sign Ronaldo.

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From the back pages

It Should Be Easy For Arsenal Published: May 6, 1978

FA Cup final preview

What A Life! Published: May 8, 1978

FA Cup final back page

Ipswich Town 1-0 Arsenal Published: May 8, 1978

FA Cup final match report

Ipswich 3-0 AZ Alkmaar Published: May 7, 1981

UEFA Cup final 1st leg match report

AZ Alkmaar 4-2 Ipswich Published: May 21, 1981

UEFA Cup final 2nd leg match report

Robson's Sunday Pledge Published: May 22, 1981

UEFA Cup final news story

Proud Of You Published: July 5, 1990

World Cup semi-final back page

Tears Of Defeat Published: July 5, 1990

World Cup semi-final front page

England 1-1 West Germany (West Germany won 5-4 on penalties) Published: 5th July 1990

World Cup semi-final report

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